1. Hooray for cigarettes!
Cigarettes are your best friends! You love having them around, they help you relax and work through your problems and - just like all good best friends - they taste brilliant. But then one day you have….
2. Your first smellpiphany.
Whether you catch a whiff of damp smoker on a rainy day, or you breathe in your own smoke-saturated hair, one day it finally hits you: you don’t smell of shampoo and CK One at all. You reek of stale ashtrays. And CK One. Basically you smell like all of N-Dubz at 14.
3. Nocturnal self-diagnosis.
You spring awake at midnight, somehow knowing that you’ve contracted gangrene of the heart, or lung-measles. You swear solemnly to Odin and all the gods of Asgard that, if they’ll just spare your life, you’ll definitely quit smoking in the morning.
4. Diurnal rationalisation.
You don’t quit smoking in the morning - of course you don’t. You’re addicted to nicotine, and you’re not that convinced that Thor gives a hammer about your smoking habits.
Finally, though, you quit! Because cigarettes aren’t the boss of you. You are your own master. You are a tower of fortitude! You are a force of nature! You are a blazing beacon of strength!
6. Almost instant regret!
You are a monster. What did cigarettes ever do to you, other than make you smell bad and threaten to significantly shorten your life? They were your best friends, and you ruthlessly cast them aside. Consumed with guilt, you cry at random intervals, unstoppably, and snottily.
7. Basically the flu.
You are a shivering, aching husk of a human, with a billion screaming nerve endings that you can’t claw at because you’re overcome with inertia.
8. The rage.
Everyone in this supermarket is directly in your path, this checkout queue is moving too slowly, the woman in front of you is too shrill, and her potatoes are looking at you funny. DESTROY EVERYTHING.
9. The vagues.
Wait, were you angry just now? What about? What did you come shopping for? You’d ask these questions yourself, only you’ve already forgotten them. Wait, forgotten what?
10. Second-hand smoking.
You befriend smokers so you can breathe in their fumes. You also sit too close to them and inhale too noisily. It gets a little weird.
11. Oral fixation.
Nicotine withdrawal makes you crave entirely unexpected things. Biscuits. Cough sweets. Home electronics. Hardware.
12. The discovery (and subsequent rejection) of Haribo.
Sour, fizzy sweets go some way to quenching those scratchy, back-of-the-throat nicotine cravings, but you have to cut back when all the sugar wears your teeth down to blackened stumps. Then you discover that carbonated water works pretty well on cravings, too. So now you have no teeth, and you burp a lot. Life is a journey.
13. The rebrand.
You’re NOT an ex-smoker. You’re a ‘retired cigarette enthusiast’. You’re not sure why, but you feel very strongly about this, and you keep announcing this loudly when you’ve had a few drinks.
14. The dreamtime.
Your dreams take on a new dimension. Whatever you’re doing in your dream - flying, hunting for tea towels, actually being Doctor Who - you also take up dream-smoking. This happens so often that your morning ritual now involves patting yourself down for lighters, and checking your room for ashtrays.
15. The paradigm shift.
The subtle benefits of not smoking creep up on you. Food tastes amazing, you can now gasp in huge lungfuls of air when you exercise. Cigarette breaks are a thing of the past, so you don’t have to leave the warm pub until home-time, and long-haul flights no longer involve counting down the seconds till your next cigarette.
Are you actively enjoying not smoking?
16. Inflation appreciation.
It dawns on you that, very soon, a packet of 20 cigarettes will soon cost £10. TEN WHOLE BRITISH POUNDS. Do you know what you can buy for ten British pounds? Other than cigarettes, I mean?
What you can buy for ten whole British pounds.
118th of an all-inclusive holiday in the Maldives.
17. Your second smellpiphany.
One day, something in the air makes you cough. What’s going on? Are you on fire? Did you inhale a bee? Nope, you’re just standing near a smoker. You’ve been off the snouts so long that cigarette smoke doesn’t smell like cigarettes anymore - it just smells like smoke.